Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies researcher releases new book on St David's Day


A new book published by a researcher at the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies on St David’s Day presents a magnificent array of images of saints from churches across Wales.

New publication Welsh Saints from Welsh Churches cover

This exceptional hardback, entitled Welsh Saints from Welsh Churches, is the first study of the portrayal of the nation’s saints and reveals a glowing treasury of images in stained glass, sculpture and other media, hardly any of which has been seen in print before. Over 500 beautiful photographs from around 250 churches across Wales tell a story of the place of the saints in Welsh religious culture and as national figures.

Dr Martin Crampin takes us on a journey around cathedrals and churches large and small in city centres, quiet suburbs, towns, villages and lonely fields, some of which are now closed. The book offers fresh perspectives on the art in our churches, comparing the imagery of saints by contrasting the approach taken by different artists and studios, and demonstrates how our perceptions of Welsh saints have changed over the years.

Dr Martin Crampin said, "The early saints of Wales have become an integral part of the story of the nation. The patron saint, David, or Dewi Sant, remains bound up with modern Welsh identity, and others such as Teilo, Illtud, Cadfan, Melangell, Beuno and Winefride or Gwenfrewy hold a special place in the traditions of different regions across Wales.

Most of the rich medieval visual culture of Welsh saints has been lost but a wealth of imagery since the mid-nineteenth century can be found in Welsh churches. At a time when communities are working hard to ensure that their churches remain open for worship and for visitors, the book is a timely reminder of the artistic treasures that can be found in places of worship across Wales."

Professor Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones, Director of CAWCS, said: "This is an extremely significant contribution to our cultural heritage and to scholarship in ecclesiastical imagery. CAWCS’s ground breaking work on Welsh visual culture is well known and our researchers’ expertise in  hagiography continues to grow, in particular following a series of research projects over the last decade. I would like to congratulate Dr Martin Crampin on the second substantial volume in his trilogy on Welsh religious art."

Welsh Saints from Welsh Churches by Martin Crampin was published on 01/03/2023 (£35, Y Lolfa).

Event: ‘Place-names, Saints and Churches’

The launch of Welsh and English in Medieval Oswestry and Welsh Saints from Welsh Churches in the company of the authors, David Parsons and Martin Crampin, will be held at

CAWCS on Tuesday, 14 March, at 5.00 o’clock.

Email cawcs@wales.ac.uk for further information.

A warm welcome to all!

Note to Editor

Contact: Dr Angharad Elias (Admin Officer) a.elias@wales.ac.uk

1. The Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies (CAWCS) was established by the University of Wales in 1985 as a dedicated research centre conducting team-based projects on the languages, literatures, culture and history of Wales and the other Celtic countries. It is located in Aberystwyth, adjacent to the National Library of Wales, which is an internationally-renowned copyright library with excellent research facilities.

2. CAWCS offers unique opportunities for postgraduate students to work alongside specialists in a dynamic and supportive environment. We welcome enquiries about MPhil/PhD topics in any of our research areas. For more information about research opportunities, or for an informal chat about possible topics, contact our Head of Graduate Studies, Dr Elizabeth Edwards: e.edwards@wales.ac.uk

3. CAWCS is the home of the Dictionary of the Welsh Language: https://www.welsh-dictionary.ac.uk/ 

Further Information

For more information please contact Arwel Lloyd, Principal PR and Communications Officer, on 07384 467076 / arwel.lloyd@uwtsd.ac.uk